Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.16.32 PM

Malnutrition aid for Gaza, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Haiti. USAID funds for Edesia’s Plumpy’Nut

Rhode Island Delegation Applauds USAID Announcement of $200 Million to Address Global MalnutritionFunding can support Rhode Island based non-profit, Edesia Nutrition, a manufacturer of Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Foods  

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, alongside Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo, applauded the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) announcement that it will commit $200 million in federal funds to maximize the procurement of domestic Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), one of the most effective nutrition treatments for malnutrition. This federal funding is expected to ramp up U.S production of emergency nutritional treatment for starving children under 5 in places like Gaza, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Haiti, where assistance is vitally needed.

RUTF is a life-saving peanut-based paste made from milk powder, peanuts, soy, oil, sugar, and vitamins and minerals that Edesia Nutrition brands “Plumpy’Nut.” It does not require water or refrigeration, can be administered at home, and can rehabilitate a child under five in just eight weeks.

This announcement directly follows advocacy by the Rhode Island congressional delegation as well as Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in a letter sent on April 29, 2024 to USAID Administrator Samantha Power. Edesia Nutrition, a Rhode Island-based non-profit organization that is one of only two producers of RUTFs nationwide, along with MANA Nutrition Factory in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Both organizations receive support from USAID.

“This is a critical contribution that will help save the lives of those suffering from severe malnutrition from war, famine, and drought.  I commend Edesia for the tremendous, lifesaving impact their nutritious products have for the most vulnerable people around the world, and I’m pleased USAID is ramping up orders so that partners can get these products into areas where they’re needed the most.  This announcement means more production in Rhode Island, more food to those in need, and more lives saved worldwide,” said Senator Reed.

“Here in Rhode Island, Edesia is making lifesaving products that are bound for places in dire need of humanitarian aid,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Edesia’s partnership with USAID will allow America to help supply immediate nutrition assistance to children around the world, including in Gaza where the need is severe.” 

“Millions of people around the world in conflict-stricken zones are suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition, and the United States must do its part to combat these crises to help those who are suffering,” said Rep. Magaziner. “Edesia Nutrition has been leading the fight against global hunger, and I’m glad that this federal funding will support its lifesaving mission and deliver assistance to people in need.”

“Today’s announcement by USAID Administrator Power will surge desperately needed federal funds to vulnerable populations facing famine and malnutrition in global conflicts,” said Congressman Amoa member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Especially given her recent statements warning of catastrophic levels of hunger and malnutrition in Gaza, I am proud that these funds will help save lives. It was a pleasure to work with my colleagues in our Rhode Island delegation as well as Senator Warnock to urge support for lifesaving malnutrition prevention programs that can be used to support operations at Edesia Nutrition. Support from federal programs like this will help Rhode Island continue to produce vital humanitarian assistance, sending a clear message that our state — and the United States — is committed to the fight against food insecurity around the world.”

“We applaud USAID’s commitment of $200 million towards expanding the distribution of life-saving nutrition, including Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), to children around the world,” said Navyn Salem, Founder/CEO of Edesia Nutrition. “Malnutrition is preventable, yet it claims the lives of too many children. At Edesia Nutrition, a leading U.S. producer of ready-to-use foods, we stand ready and equipped to respond to this critical commitment, operating 24/7 to ensure that more children are reached. This announcement underscores our collective resolve to combat malnutrition and save lives through both treatment and prevention. Together we can make malnutrition history.”

According to USAID, approximately 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance this year. In addition to the commitment announced today, the U.S. is also deploying $1 billion U.S-grown commodities, such as wheat, rice, beans, and cornmeal to provide emergency food assistance to people in need throughout the world through the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced today.


On April 29, 2024, the Rhode Island congressional delegation and Senator Warnock sent a letter to USAID Administrator Samantha Power advocating for the allocation of additional resources to address the detrimental impacts of severe malnutrition in Gaza. Additionally, the letter urged USAID to work with other U.S. agencies and international partners to expedite the delivery of these products to those who desperately need them.

Read the full letter sent to USAID Administrator Samantha Power HERE.

On May 3, 2024, Administrator Samantha Power announced that USAID is committing $200 million in Fiscal Year 2024 base Title II Food for Peace funds to maximize the procurement and distribution of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and other specialized nutritious foods to prevent and treat acute malnutrition. USAID plans to distribute this essential aid through partners like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to areas most in need — including Gaza, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Haiti. This announcement will build on ongoing efforts to provide life-saving nutrition support and prevent developmental delays, disease, and even death.

According to UNICEF, RUTF is one of the most effective treatments for severe wasting. RUTF is generally funded by USAID as part of a comprehensive package to support the patient, their family, and their community to save children’s lives. Approximately 300 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year, and famine looms in Gaza and Sudan as critical food and nutrition assistance is nearly impossible to access. Food insecurity has been compounded by conflicts around the world, including Russia’s war on Ukraine and the impacts of the climate crisis. Child wasting, the most acute, life-threatening form of malnutrition, affects 45 million children globally. 

Congressional action has been vital to supporting USAID’s global humanitarian response as well as its efforts to address child wasting and acute malnutrition. Today’s announcement draws on funds that Congress previously appropriated for Fiscal Year 2024. Additionally, the recently-enacted national security supplemental appropriations bill includes significant new funding for USAID’s global humanitarian assistance programs, which will enable future commitments by USAID to tackle child wasting.

Edesia Nutrition is a Rhode Island-based non-profit with the goal of ending malnutrition in children around the world. Edesia produces the first-ever RUTF Plumpy’Nut, a nutrient-packed food paste filled with milk powder, peanuts, vegetable oil, sugar, vitamins, and minerals with a 92% success rate for curing severe acute malnutrition in as little as eight weeks. Since 2010, Edesia has worked to save 24 million lives — now serving 5 million children annually. It works with humanitarian organizations, like USAID, UNICEF, and the World Food Program to send their RUTFs to the areas around the world that need it the most.

Posted in ,

Leave a Comment